Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Daily Readings for TUESDAY, December 5, 2017

Advent in Salzburg, Austria, is celebrated outside and more widely than in English-speaking countries. The town hall is an Advent calendar (notice the numbers in the windows).

Daily Readings

Amos 3:1-11
Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt: You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Do two walk together unless they have made an appointment? Does a lion roar in the forest, when it has no prey? Does a young lion cry out from its den, if it has caught nothing? Does a bird fall into a snare on the earth, when there is no trap for it? Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing? Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster befall a city, unless the LORD has done it? Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy? Proclaim to the strongholds in Ashdod, and to the strongholds in the land of Egypt, and say, "Assemble yourselves on Mount Samaria, and see what great tumults are within it, and what oppressions are in its midst." They do not know how to do right, says the LORD, those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: An adversary shall surround the land, and strip you of your defense; and your strongholds shall be plundered.

2 Peter 1:12-21
Therefore I intend to keep on reminding you of these things, though you know them already and are established in the truth that has come to you. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to refresh your memory, since I know that my death will come soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Matthew 21:12-22
Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer' but you are making it a den of robbers." The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they became angry and said to him, "Do you hear what these are saying?" Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself'?" He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. In the morning, when he returned to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the side of the road, he went to it and found nothing at all on it but leaves. Then he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" And the fig tree withered at once. When the disciples saw it, they were amazed, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?" Jesus answered them, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive."

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

Prayer of the Day for TUESDAY, December 5, 2017


Thank you God for sending Your Son on one glorious night to be born a virgin, to live a perfect life and to die on the cross for my sins. Thank you that he rose from the dead three days later and that this Christmas and every Christmas we can celebrate the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Amen

Verse of the Day for TUESDAY, December 5, 2017


John 10:7, 9-10 (NIV) Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Read all of John 10

Listen to John 10

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Morning Devotions with Cap'n Kenny - It Began with a Tree


It Began with a Tree

The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
~ Genesis 2:9 (NIV)

The Christmas story begins with a tree, but not the kind of Christmas tree with brightly colored lights or ornaments. The Christmas story begins with a tree called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the Garden of Eden.

God had given Adam and Eve only one restriction in that literal paradise: stay away from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But before long, that’s just where we find them. Of course, we know the rest of the story. They listened to the serpent and ate the forbidden fruit. And once that happened, they lost their sweet fellowship with God.

A few verses later in Genesis 3:15, we come to the first Christmas verse in the Bible, where God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel..”

Here the battle lines were drawn. The devil knew this Messiah would come—and that He would come from the Jewish people. So he tried to stop that from taking place.

Really, as we look at the Christmas story, we realize that it doesn’t begin in Matthew or Luke. It begins in the Old Testament. Before there was a world, before there were planets, before there was light and darkness, before there was matter, before there was anything but the Godhead, there was Jesus—coequal, coeternal, and coexistent with the Father and Holy Spirit. He was with God. He was God.

Jesus Christ became human without ceasing to be God. He did not become identical to us, but He became identified with us. The real message of Christmas is that God came to this earth. The real message of Christmas is Immanuel, God is with us.
Thank you God for sending Your Son on one glorious night to be born a virgin, to live a perfect life and to die on the cross for my sins. Thank you that he rose from the dead three days later and that this Christmas and every Christmas we can celebrate the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Amen
In Jesus,
Cap'n Kenny


Seeking God?
Click HERE to find out more about how to have a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ.

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The Christmas story really begins in Genesis!

Un Dia a la Vez - No atrases tu restitución


No atrases tu restitución

El que es fiel en lo muy poco, también en lo más es fiel.
~ Lucas 16:10 (RVR1960)

Una vez que tomamos decisiones radicales para el cambio, o que quizá saliéramos de alguna crisis emocional o de cualquier tipo, es muy normal sentirse cansado, sin fuerzas y a veces hasta sin ánimos de seguir. No obstante, ahí es cuando viene la promesa de Dios de que Él te sanará, restituirá y devolverá todo lo que te quitó el enemigo.

En esta parte de nuestra situación, debemos tomar muy en serio las cosas que le hemos prometido a nuestro Padre celestial. Después que pasa un tiempo y nos sentimos mejor, la tendencia humana es a olvidarse de Dios y nos podemos desviar del verdadero propósito.

Por eso no se nos puede olvidar de dónde nos levanta Dios y ser muy sabios en todas las decisiones que tomemos.

La recaída en un error cuando estamos saliendo de una prueba es muy perjudicial. Esto no solo es un retroceso en la sanidad que estamos teniendo, sino que le estamos fallando a Dios. Además, lo único que lograremos será el atraso de nuestro milagro, cambio y restitución.

De ahí que no valga la pena volver a empezar un proceso cuando no hemos salido del otro.

Es hermoso ver cómo Dios nos devuelve más de lo que teníamos antes y nos pone en lugares de privilegio. Sin embargo, el secreto está en «ser fieles».

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - FELLOWSHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH


FELLOWSHIP FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household.

As Christians we are called to belong—not just believe. We are not meant to be loners but true members of his body—part of Jesus’ family. It is thus important for Christians to spend time together to share their spiritual lives, encourage each other and have fellowship.

Satan brings all his efforts to bear upon Christians to prevent this fellowship. He realizes that believers need to help and strengthen each other, so he will try to prevent it by promoting indifference or by using the force of circumstances (Hebrews 10:24, 25). Even informal or casual meetings can be used of the Lord for strengthening Christians, especially when formal meetings and large group fellowships are forbidden. Of course, large meetings can be useful, too. But normally, more help is given one-to-one in small “cell” groups where specific needs can be shared, discussed and ministered to in-depth.

Mona’s story is a good illustration. It wasn’t only that she was raped when she sneaked across the border into Malaysia. It wasn’t simply because she sent her daughter back to Burma and had never seen her since she was a baby. It wasn’t just the violence of those terrifying days in the ‘80’s in Rangoon when students and soldiers clashed in the streets forcing her husband (then a student) and her to flee the country.

It was the thousand nights of loneliness. The trauma of the past haunted her. The papers she needed to stay in Malaysia legally. Papers that she could not acquire. The possibility of arrest and punishment by police.

The nightmares came on leathery wings of fear, dug their claws deeply and took up residence in her psyche. Her mind, once sound and clear, clouded with doubts and delusions: the sound of voices she did not know and horrifying images that would not go away.

But hers was not a life destined for darkness. The clouds were pulled away slowly, partly by the psychiatrist at the General Hospital, secured for her by the volunteers at the free medical clinic. Also by the kindness of strangers who reached out their hands in generosity.

It was the moment Mona was able to tell another woman in her own language of her troubles; this was when the first ray of light cut through the cloud and shone the possibility of hope into her circumstance.

Later, it was the time she spent with other women from Burma at the church. It was the songs they sang, the shared experience and language, the friendship, the food, the games.

Fellowship is life-giving to those who have been deprived of it.

RESPONSE: Today I will seek to experience true fellowship in Christ.

PRAYER: Pray for opportunities to support others who need a listening ear or a word of encouragement.

Girlfriends in God - Do We Have It All Wrong?


Do We Have It All Wrong?

Today's Truth

He must increase, but I must decrease.
~ John 3:30 (ESV)

Friend to Friend

I once listened to a talk on the foundations of contemporary discipleship given by scholar and apologist Ravi Zacharias. Toward the end of his lecture, Ravi spoke of a conversation he had with a former Muslim who had become a Christian. The gentleman humbly explained to Mr. Zacharias that there is a compelling contrast between the way he was taught as a Muslim to view faith and the way he sees faith being perceived in the lives of many Christians.

He drew a circle and a small dot inside the circle.

After this, he drew another circle and a small dot in the other circle.

Then he told Ravi that since he’d become a Christian, what he sees is that the circle of the Christian seems to be his life, and the dot is his faith. The contrast is that when he was a Muslim, he was taught that the circle was to be his faith and the dot his life.

Zacharias asked him what he thought about the contrast.

Essentially, the former Muslim’s response to Ravi was this, “As Christians we’ve got it all wrong. We’ve got it all wrong! God should be first. The circle. Everything else should be the dot.”

I heard this story and a hush fell over my heart. Conviction. Embarrassment. I felt as if I’ve been found out.

Because I often perceive life as being all about ME.

Me. Me. Me.

Questions rise in my mind. Do I really worship God above all else? Am I designed and created to live for Him or for me? Do I center my life around the One who gives life – or do I simply “include” Him among the many small dots?

The fire of conviction warms me. Bends my knees. I know the answer to these questions. He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)

Yes… this.

I breathe in His deep grace and, once again, am thankful that the kindness of the Lord leads me to repentance and recalibrates my heart to His. He refocuses my mind and redirects my soul toward what really matters.

And I pray the words of the old hymn penned by Adelaide A. Pollard:

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, You are the circle. I am the dot. Forgive me for the times – the many, many times – when I invert this. Let me be found in You – in adoration of You, led by Your Spirit, washed in Your grace. Help me live for You today.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

Now It’s Your Turn

Don’t gloss over this message. Consider where you really are with this. Reflect. Repent if needed. Respond to God in prayer. Go deep with Him. And be honest. God can handle your honesty. I’d love to hear what’s on your heart with all of this. CLICK HERE to visit my blog and leave a comment. Let’s take the conversation deeper and encourage one another.

More from the Girlfriends

God has big plans for you, friend. Ready to allow HIM to be the circle? Explore God’s purpose and hope in your life today as you read I WANT IT ALL. To order the book, go to Amazon, your favorite Christian bookstore, or for a signed copy, order from Gwen’s store.

Seeking God?
Click HERE to find out more about how to have a personal
relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God